Test­ing their me­tal

Black­smithing con­fer­ence be­gins to­day in Baddeck


Af­ter years of plan­ning, Cape Bre­ton black­smiths are set to host their col­leagues from around the globe.

CanIron X, Canada’s premier bi­en­nial black­smithing con­fer­ence, will take place at the In­ver­ary Re­sort in Baddeck over the next four days. The event opens to­day and del­e­gates are com­ing from across Canada and the United States, and as far away as Switzer­land, Is­rael and Ire­land.

Event or­ga­nizer Grant Haver­stock, owner of Fire­house Iron­works in Why­co­co­magh and pres­i­dent of the Cape Bre­ton Black­smiths As­so­ci­a­tion, said he’s look­ing for­ward to meet­ing black­smiths from around the world.

“We tried to as­sem­ble the best of the best so ev­ery­body can hope­fully learn and ex­pand their skillset,” he said, not­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned me­tal artist Al­bert Pa­ley from New York is among the fea­tured lec­tur­ers.

“I’m ab­so­lutely thrilled that I was able to sweet talk him

into com­ing to Cape Bre­ton for his first time. He’ll be lec­tur­ing on de­sign and his pro­cesses, ba­si­cally how he goes from sketch to fi­nal prod­uct.”

But the four-day event isn’t just for black­smiths, ac­cord­ing to Haver­stock. It’s also for peo­ple of all ages in­ter­ested in the craft, with black­smithing demon­stra­tions, lec­tures and youth pro­grams among the many ac­tiv­i­ties that may ap­peal to the gen­eral public.

CanIron X will also in­clude a ven­dors mar­ket, art gallery ex­hibit, a his­toric dis­play on forges of Cape Bre­ton, meals and mu­sic.

“Any­body that’s in­ter­ested in art, this is a per­fect venue for them,” he said. “If you’re cu­ri­ous about black­smithing, or you want to try it, there will be lots of peo­ple around.”

Haver­stock es­ti­mates there’s ap­prox­i­mately 30 black­smiths — mostly hob­by­ists — in Cape Bre­ton, and this week­end they’ll be joined by hun­dreds of oth­ers to celebrate their craft. He said they ex­pect 300- 500 peo­ple to at­tend the con­fer­ence.

“The eco­nomic spinoff is huge,” said Haver­stock “Most peo­ple that I’ve talked to are stay­ing for two weeks, so that’s a huge boost to the econ­omy.”

Tick­ets to CanIron X events will be avail­able at the door dur­ing the event. Passes range from $100 for a sin­gle day pass to $ 300 for the full event pass.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go online to canironx.ca.

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